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Politics & Current Affairs

Blame Game

An attendant to the final high-level negotiations in Copenhagen recalls how China deliberately wrecked the conference’s final outcome.

“Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful ‘deal’ so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen. China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world’s poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait. The failure was ‘the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility’, said Christian Aid. ‘Rich countries have bullied developing nations,’ fumed Friends of the Earth International. All very predictable, but the complete opposite of the truth. Even George Monbiot, writing in yesterday’s Guardian, made the mistake of singly blaming Obama. But I saw Obama fighting desperately to salvage a deal, and the Chinese delegate saying ‘no’, over and over again.”

Obama has announced he will attend the final weekend of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference giving him more authority to shape the final outcome.

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